Tip of the Week: Dos and Don’ts of Fidgets

This week, Different Roads is proud to share some tips from Nancy Hammill and Understood on the dos and don’ts of fidgets, both in the classroom and at home!

squidgy.jpg

Fidgets, like squeeze balls and key chains, are self-regulation tools that promote movement and tactile input. They can be great for kids who struggle with attention, focus and sensory processing.

But in my many years as a teacher and parent, I’ve often seen them misused. When I see a child throw a squeeze ball across the room or obsess over making shapes out of Silly Putty, I know something’s gone wrong.

The problem is we often hand fidgets to kids without any direction, thinking they’ll magically know how to use them. Then when they play with them—rather than use them as a tool—we get angry.

That’s why it’s important to teach kids how to use fidgets. Here’s what I suggest.

First, explain to your child that a fidget is one strategy in her “tool kit” to help her improve focus on a task. When used correctly in the right situation, fidgets can help her be a better listener, sustain attention on her work, and even calm down or slow down her body and mind.

Basically, a fidget is a tool to help her focus—not a toy.

Second, work with your child to identify specific times she might need a fidget. For example, she might need it when she’s doing homework or needs to sit still in a movie theater.

Third, set up clear rules for how to use fidgets in your home, and communicate them to your child. If you’re unsure where to start, here are my “non-negotiables”:

Rule #1: Be mindful. Before you grab a fidget, think about whether you need it. If you don’t know, review rule #2.

Rule #2: You can only use a fidget to help with focus and attention or to calm down. Otherwise it will be taken away.

Rule #3: Don’t use a fidget if it distracts others or interferes with the work others are doing. If the fidget does distract others or interfere with their work, use a different fidget or strategy.

Rule #4: Every time you’re done with a fidget, put it back where it belongs. (In our house, we keep fidgets in a designated basket.)

If you want to try a fidget with your child, there are many options to choose from. Experiment to find what works best for your child. But I recommend that you don’t get a fidget that has a cute face or that looks like a toy. Your child needs to remember that fidgets are tools.

When you’re ready, you can set up a fidget basket (or other spot), print the rules, and put the rules in a place where your child can easily see and review them.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Hammill is the 2016 National Learning Disabilities Educator of the Year, awarded by Understood founding partner the Learning Disabilities Association of America. She has 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher, literacy specialist and learning therapist.

About Understood: The professionals who advise parents on Understood are all experts in their fields. They include educators, learning and attention specialists, physicians, psychologists, lawyers and more. They share a commitment to children with learning and attention issues.

Pick of the Week: Save 20% off our Fidgets!

Fidgets New Items POW E-mailer


Introducing our newest fidgets, The Fidget Cube and Spinners, to help keep students focused!

This week only, save 20% off your purchase of these select fidgets by using promo code FIDGETS17.

*Promotion is valid until April 3, 2017 at 11:59pm ET. Offer cannot be applied to previous purchases, combined with any other offers, transferred, refunded, or redeemed and/or exchanged for cash or credit. Different Roads to Learning reserves the right to change or cancel this promotion at any time. To redeem offer at differentroads.com, enter promo code FIDGETS17 at checkout.

Pick of the Week: Fidgets Kit – Smooshy, squishy, twisty, bouncy and more!

Created in conjunction with our behavioral consultant Stacy Asay, LMSW, our Fidgets Kit includes an array of items that can provide a variety of sensory experiences: stretchy, chewy, spiky, twisty, bumpy, twisty, clicky, bouncy and smooshy! This week, get the Fidgets Kit for 15% off* the normal price – just use our promo code FIDGETS at check-out!

Fidget toys can be a great and socially acceptable replacement for stereotypic or repetitive behavior in the classroom or community. Some students find the repetitive action of “fidgeting” to be calming and are then better able to focus on the task at hand. Additionally, some students who have a difficult time staying still are able to sustain sitting behavior for longer periods with less support or prompting when they are manipulating something repeatedly in their hands. We’ve included a variety of items that vary in texture or are manipulated in different ways so that they can be rotated regularly. The components have also been chosen so that they can be worn on the wrist, clipped to a belt, handheld or attached to a piece of clothing.

Use promo code FIDGETS at check-out to save 15%* on the Fidgets Kit this week and start helping your students focus better on their tasks!

*Offer is valid until 11:59pm EST on November 17th, 2015. Not compatible with any other offers. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at checkout!

Pick of the Week: NEW! Fidgets Kit

We’re thrilled to introduce this brand new Fidgets Kit, exclusively created and brought to you by Different Roads in conjunction with our Behavioral Consultant Stacy Asay.

Fidget toys can be a great and socially acceptable replacement for stereotypic or repetitive behavior in the classroom or community. Some students find the repetitive action of “fidgeting” to be calming and are then better able to focus on the task at hand. Additionally, some students who have a difficult time staying still are able to sustain sitting behavior for longer periods with less support or prompting when they are manipulating something repeatedly in their hands.

In honor of the arrival of this great new kit, this week only, take 15% off of the Fidgets Kit by entering in our promotional code FIDGETS at checkout!

We’ve assembled this Fidgets Kit to include an array of items that can provide a variety of sensory experiences: stretchy, chewy, spiky, twisty, bumpy, twisty, clicky, bouncy and smooshy! We’ve included a variety of items that vary in texture or are manipulated in different ways so that they can be rotated regularly. The components have also been chosen so that they can be worn on the wrist, clipped to a belt, handheld, or attached to a piece of clothing.

Remember, this week only, take 15% off* your order of the Fidgets Kit by applying FIDGETS at checkout!

*Offer valid through 01/28/14 at 11:59pm EST. Not valid with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in the code at checkout!